Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Re-Posting: Since I Had Another “Last Class”

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on February 9, 2012

   Loss comes in all sorts of packages. Today I am thinking about the sadness I feel as I wrap up my eight week course teaching the developing child: from latency through adolescence, from a psychoanalytic viewpoint. My students, almost all older than I am, are five lovely and talented people who have dedicated their professional lives to an in-depth study of psychoanalysis. They have little financial incentive; the economy has hit everyone. Yet, they are driven by an intellectual pursuit which is both charming and astonishing at the same time. I taught this class last year; my Klein class. I did not appreciate them then. I was just getting to know their individual strengths. I was nervous; they were nervous. I love Melanie Klein, but I am more grounded talking about development. My students could pick up on this instantly.

     As is my tradition, the last class is a meal at my house. We sat around, relaxed, but I was melancholy at the thought that I was through teaching this class. At the same time, they were about to be done. They have two more trimesters, at which point they will be done with their didactics and it will be left up to them to finish their write-ups so they can graduate and become psychoanalysts. They all have a lot to look forward to, yet, they all will leave their class and spread out into new horizons. Sure, there is an institute which hosts parties, continuing education, study groups, but this class as a class, me teaching this class will never happen again. I think, well my schedule is freed up. I can book appointments in spots which were blocked off for eight straight weeks. That should ease my week. My new-found freedom in my schedule does not console me. I feel loss. I can look for new teaching opportunities, but I still feel a certain hole in my internal world. I am brought back to platitudes. Transitions are never easy; not even good ones.

6 Responses to “Re-Posting: Since I Had Another “Last Class””

  1. Jon said

    An oversimplified statement of Existentialism is that existence precedes essence. We make our own meaning in life.

    If this is true, how do we do it? We make meaning by caring. That which we care about, that which we love, is that which gives meaning to our lives. You obviously care about this class. It has given meaning to you, and, I would guess, you have given meaning to its members. The class has come to its natural end, and you now suffer the necessary loss. You are going though the grieving that comes with such a loss. My heart is with you as you work through your transition.

  2. Shelly said

    I empathize with the way you feel, Shirah, and hope that your students appreciated that they had the best teacher in the psychoanalytic institute. Think of all the fun you will have when you meet them as colleagues or as friends in both professional or casual circumstances.

    I understand, Shirah.

  3. DAnny said

    Hi, hope its still ok for me to post on your blog 🙂 This issue of sad / loss/ transitions, when something finishes , even though it was taking up one’s time and crowding out the daily schedule, hit home. “This class will never happen again” phrase could apply to so many daily things in life. Including when one does take a short term course and the end comes around inevitably , one feeels sad and the emptyness and the loss. Time is not gold, because it cannot be replaced ! Time is precious . By the way , just curious, why do some candidates stay around or seem to take a such long time to write the papers ? , after being done with the didactic part of this training.

    • Shirah said

      Hi Danny,
      Sure, you are welcome to comment on my blog. Thanks. As to your question about candidates, as you can imagine there are a multitude of reasons for procrastination.

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